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Why Online Connections Will Never Trump Offline Friendships

One look at your Facebook friend list will tell you that only about ten percent of the people in your contacts are the ones that matter. The rest is a mishmash of obligatory friendships, family pressures and connections you’ve made out of curiosity.

Interestingly enough, most of them are people you already know or have known for some time in the past but aren’t too keen to rekindle the friendship with now. The final type of online connections are those with whom you’ve found something in common. But very rarely do these translate into an offline friendship.

And if the purpose of a social network is to connect with people old and new, why is it that most of them remain relegated to our screens only? The answer lies in the very basic need for humans to draw strength and joy from intimate, personal connections. 

Trust. Confidence. Freedom. These are valuable assets in any relationship that can never be found in the impersonal world that you get on a screen.

Here’s why offline connections will always be more valuable than online ones:

  1.       Greater understanding

Can an emoji really beat the warmth of a real smile? Can text messaging make room for the subtle cues that accompany a person’s voice or body language? When you speak to a friend, you know that the person in front of you is invested in what you have to say; that they aren’t juggling two windows at the same time. On the other hand, the limitations of texting often lead to misunderstandings in an online connection.

 

  1.       Trust

This. Is. Huge.
Friendships are, first and foremost, based on trust. Something that you would not be able to place in a stranger you meet online. Online connections are a great way to share or seek opinions or reviews. However, one is hardly ever able to let down the guard of caution. Trust is the foundation of a lasting friendship. And an online network leaves very little scope to build it.

 

  1.     Actual communication skills

It isn’t uncommon to find people who are very active online but withdraw from forging meaningful friendships in real life. Not speaking and expressing yourself in a real, regular manner can often hamper your communication skills. If you’re avoiding eye contact, constantly checking your phone for comments, typing away fiercely in the middle of a real conversation or just sitting quietly because you find yourself not being able to articulate as well as you’d like to, it’s time for you disconnect from the online and get out of the house to make some real offline friendships. Offline friendships (yes, even among introverts) can help you stay more social. In contrast, online connections only create an illusion of being social.

While nobody discredits the perks of staying connected online, it can never replace the genuineness and warmth that offline friendships offer. Therefore, it’s important to get out there and build lasting, meaningful, real friendships with real people. To share ideas and enjoy an immediate response. To wink, smile or stick your tongue out embarrassingly at a real person instead of a screen.

So the next time, you feel the need to connect with someone, log out of that online group and connect with real people who share your interests. Not only will it be a more satisfying experience, but you might also have great and real insights about a fresh experience to share in your online network. Now that’s doing it differently!

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